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Guest Post – Insecurity: the Fine Print of Creative License?

Today’s guest post is written by fellow blogger Robin R. Talbott. Robin is a Fine Arts Conservation scientist with a Masters Degree in both science and art. She is a Registered Medical Technologist, with a specialty in Clinical Chemistry. She is known for adapting a medical procedure, the Fluorescent Antibody Technique, to art conservation science to technically analyze the proteins in oil paintings. In the 1980s, Robin owned and operated a nationally known quilt store selling supplies to fabric artists. She is now quilting and writing as SunbonnetSmart.com. She is a Syndicated and Featured Writer at BlogHer.

Insecurity: the Fine Print of Creative License?

On June 7, 2014, Laurel posted, “Some Questions on Creative Self-Confidence.” Being in the creative arts myself, I found the topic of her discussion and fan Comments thought provoking. In this post, I hope to reassure anyone who creates that they are a creator, anyone who paints that they are a painter, and anyone who writes that they are a writer. It is the actions that determine the title, not the facilitator’s mental set of confidence or self-doubt, for…

“All the world’s a stage…”
William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

And, with every stage there are players, each of whom has stage fright before they go on.

Actors know to leverage this anxiety into a creative pump, even though they may agonize with self doubt, thinking, “Last night’s performance went smoothly, but what about tonight?”

An actor’s fear dissolves, though, as they exit the wings, taking their mark to audience acclaim. The feedback is immediate and, most times positive, so their self-doubts quickly dissipate. The show goes on, while their egos are salved with triumph in minutes, at most within hours.

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The creative arts demand solitary performance.

When you think about it, all of life’s venues, from the boardroom to the bedroom, can cause performance stage fright, the fear of not being well received. But, on most of life’s performance stages, the butterflies of questioning acceptance are fleeting, quickly reassured as the live presentation proceeds in real time.

In the creative arts, however, a project is often planned in isolation, birthed privately, and set before the public at a distance. The contact between the creator and their audience is disconnected. An artist painting in oils, works for months and years to prepare a collection of work for a gallery opening. At the show’s opening reception, the creative artist chats with their public, for, maybe, two hours. Then, the progenitor goes back to the studio, while the exhibit hangs for viewing with the artist absently remote.

This disconnect is why we in the creative arts, and especially bloggers, tend to undermine ourselves with insecurity when we create. We work in isolation, without the reassurance of a live interactive audience. Until we have high traffic and an Internet following, our applause is not immediate. Our feedback is delayed. Our human contact, yay or nay, comes electronically intermittent and sometimes, not at all.

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Microscopic self-analysis plagues working alone.

When creative people give birth to projects, it is a very personal gift to their audience, but the audience is not at hand to provide guidance while the work is being composed. All affirmations or critiques occur after the presentation. And, especially with us bloggers, who labor bereft of ongoing approval until clicking “submit,” our work is irrevocably revealed for all the world to see. For all time.

No wonder we might have misgivings about the value of what we create and our titled role. We toss and turn until the Comments start flowing in, our post is featured or picked up for syndication.

We bloggers want to express ourselves, be true to our beliefs and creative endeavors, but, at the same time, are hopeful to receive accolades for each stroke of our self-construed brilliance. We are willing to meet our audience half way, we think, in tone and authority, if only they could sit on our shoulder while we type, to temper our thoughts with their own.

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Bloggers are isolated until they click “submit.”

But, they can’t, so we remain alone, anticipating contact sometime in the future. Resigned, we beat our keyboard as our own drum, pleasing ourselves, all the time wondering, “Is this effort good enough?” Is anybody out there? Does anyone care?

We think, “Am I like that tree that falls in the forest without anybody there to hear it? Does it make a noise?”

If nobody reads what I’ve written, can I call myself a writer?”

Well, yes, I believe we can, because we all are defined by our actions, not by what we think of ourselves.

Let it be pronounced, therefore, the writer having written is a writer.

Ipso facto, we are what we do.

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~ Robin Talbott, SunbonnetSmart.com

NaBloPoMo July 2014

Thank you for sharing, Robin!

Laurel Regan – Writer, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, Growlita, iFan, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Cathy Graham July 28, 2014

    I loved this article by Robin and could identify with it totally. I often have self doubt and wonder why I bother but I keep pushing on. I realized a while back that being creative is part of who I am and needs expression. I’m not doing it for approval from others. If they like it, great, but it can’t be the motivation as it sets me up for disappointment when there is a negative reaction or no reaction at all.

    I really like the last part about being a writer as defined by our actions, not what we think of ourselves. Very reassuring. I AM A WRITER!
    Cathy Graham recently posted… UBC Day 28 – ABC of me and Quintet of Radiance AwardMy Profile

  • Corinne Rodrigues
    Twitter:
    July 29, 2014

    For years I thought I wasn’t creative because I couldn’t draw, Robin. I took to blogging to express myself but was always a bit tentative about my writing. Now I am proud to call myself creative. Thank you for this wonderful piece – it truly resonated with me.
    Laurel – your guest posters have been great! :)
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted… Think About These ThingsMy Profile

  • Suzy
    Twitter:
    July 29, 2014

    I think for some reason we all think we aren’t creative, when in our own way each one of us is. I love to write so yes I am most definitely a writer.
    Suzy recently posted… UBC Jul 28 – IndulgenceMy Profile

  • Sulekha July 29, 2014

    Robin, You are a wonderful writer, I especially loved these lines- “It is the actions that determine the title, not the facilitator’s mental set of confidence or self-doubt, for…
    So yeah, I am a writer and am proud to be one. I create stories in my head and put them down on paper. thanks for this awesome reminder.

  • kalpana solsi July 29, 2014

    When I was in school , my drawing sir lavished praises generously on me. But I could never fathom the reason. I felt I was mediocre . Everytime I used to draw and paint , I used to be petrified of his verdict. But the praises kept coming. Loved your post. We all look for applause.
    kalpana solsi recently posted… Clear : haikuMy Profile

  • Laurel Regan
    Twitter:
    July 29, 2014

    Thank you so much for this post, Robin – not only do I appreciate you for helping out while I was out of town, but also the content of your post really spoke to me. Much appreciated. :)
    Laurel Regan recently posted… Tangled Tuesday No. 13My Profile

  • Fab July 30, 2014

    That’s the state of my mind!! I didn’t realize how insecure I really was till I started blogging and found I needed people to respond positively to my writing. I still can’t bring myself to say that I’m a ‘writer’, it’s like I’m praising myself too much!!
    Fab recently posted… Review: Omved Daily Night Foot OilMy Profile

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